Oral historian Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Ann Kaplan on March 30, 2001 in Mercer Island, Washington as part of the Jewish Women's Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
Ann Meyers Kaplanâs family moved to Seattle from New York City in 1910 when Ann was three. Her father opened a tailoring business in Pioneer Square. For Ann's parents and many Russian immigrants like them, the Settlement House and the socialist-leaning Workmen's Circle were centers of Jewish community life. A graduate of Garfield High School, Ann worked as a bookkeeper in Seattle, later moving to San Francisco. She returned to Seattle after eloping with Ben Kaplan in 1935, who wooed her long-distance for three years. For the next 50 years, Ann served as bookkeeper in his company. After their daughter lost her hearing at age three, Ann devoted much of her time to seeking experimental treatments, advocating for the hearing impaired, and raising a second child, a son.
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.